In 2012, Franciscan Peacemakers started Gifts for the Journey, a social enterprise that sells bar soaps and other bath and body products made by women in Milwaukee who have survived sexual exploitation or trafficking.
In addition to the retail component – which pays for the jobs it provides – the program offers a supportive workplace for the women to learn skills in manufacturing, packaging, marketing, sales and administration.
In late 2019, Gifts for the Journey opened a storefront at 3333 W. Lisbon Ave. in Milwaukee’s Walnut Hill neighborhood, where it sells its products.
Franciscan Peacemakers was founded by two Franciscan Capuchin priests in 1995 as an outreach ministry to women engaged in prostitution, the homeless and families in poverty. It works to connect women to safe housing, meaningful work and a healing network of support, as it works to end human sex trafficking through service and advocacy.
“Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation is very cruel and degrading to the women that it’s affected. ... (This) social enterprise only succeeds to serve the needs of the women when people buy really good products.”
-Deacon Steve Przedpelski, executive director of Franciscan Peacemakers